25 March 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

The Low-Down
Kyle is a high-end pretty boy living in New York City and attending one of the most prestigious schools there.  His father, a news anchor, gives him a head up in practically any situation.  Kyle is a god at his school according to anybody who's somebody, except for the ugly girl in one of his classes.  Kendra is a witch.  And Kyle pissed her off when he stood her up publicly at a dance.  So she curses him.  He has two years to find someone who will look beyond the ugliness of the beast form she cursed him with, or he will remain a beast forever.
Best Part
The best part is how the author throws in a little twist at the end.  You're like, "Whoa.  Didn't see that." And naturally follows the self-proscribed butt-kicking when you're like, "Dude, I SO should have seen that before!"  But Alex Flinn has a talent for writing in a guy's point of view.  I didn't realize that the author was a woman until I saw her picture.  Since "Alex" can be either male or female...and it was written from a guy's point of view, well, I automatically assumed it was a male author.  But Alex Flinn is a fantastic writer.  She portrayed Kyle's character nicely and realistically. 
The Romance Deal
The story is obviously pure romance.  Not designed for action or mystery.  The storyline is straight-up and in your face.  There's no beating around the bush, or fluffy fill-in words half of us can't even pronounce.  As I read, I made sure to focus on how realistic or fake the romance progression was.  Obviously Kyle was obsessed with Lindy way before she showed signs of liking him.  His obsession had me rolling my eyes a few times but otherwise, it wasn't too over-stalkerish.  Lindy is a cool gal, though.  She shows some real sharp wit.  Overall, I enjoyed the romance.  A little gushy at the end, but hey, that's how it's supposed to go.
The Down-Side
While I admired the straight-up nature of the style, it lacked the more magical feel you'd expect from a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast".  Kyle's obsession with Lindy is understandable...up to a point.  It's incredible what loneliness will do you, but still.  Some of the things that Kyle says is just not what you'd expect from ANY teenage boy.  It seemed a little awkward when you read it.  Reflecting, not so much.  Still, I've never been a fan of when, in a relationship, the love becomes so intense that it overrides the basic human instinct of survival.  So Kyle's intense conviction that he would do anything possible to make Lindy happy is a little off-putting to me.

Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 304
  • published - October 2007
  • publisher - HarperTeen
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - library :)
  • rating - 4/5